French pressing; French house star Djebali makes his city debut next week. EMMA JOHNSON talks Paris, producing and amazing parties with the Ideal House boss.
AS WE enter Valentine's weekend, it's only fitting that I have a DJ from the city of love on my clubs page. But, while Paris is the capital of romance, it also does a mean line in house music. From Dan Ghenacia to David Guetta, Dyed Soundorom to Bob Sinclair, countless producers cut their teeth in its clubs.
Coming more from the Ghenacia than the Guetta stable, Djebali found his musical feet in the French capital eventually landing his own night, Ideal Juice, at the city's legendary Rex Club.
Having started playing some 15 years ago, a booking at DC10 in Ibiza in 2011 and the backing of Ghenacia himself helped send the Frenchman's star rocketing and he is one of the hottest stars on the house scene right now. Ahead of his Liverpool debut next week, he found time to fill me in on his hometown, his musical heroes and what to expect from his set.
How has your year been so far? So far so good. The year has just started but it has kicked off with great news and great energy. I just finished building my new studio in Paris last December, so everything has been good, getting used to the new space and so on.
Paris. You are making us jealous. How is the club scene these days? Amazing right now! I would say it hasn't stopped growing for the last two years: there are so many amazing parties representing different genres (house, deep house, techno, etc ), a lot of crews making great music, and there is more and more public demand for all of it.
Do you still play at Rex Club there? Yeah, I run my residency there, it's called Ideal Juice. I put on one party every two months.
How is Paris now after the horrific attacks last year? It was really hard for everybody just after what happened. The whole country was shocked - as was the rest of the world. But, after a couple of weeks, everybody chose to not to live in fear and continued going out. It's not about forgetting what happened but more carrying on with living and showing that we are not gonna stop doing what we love to do.
Back to your career. When did you decide you wanted to be a DJ? It was the end of the Nineties. I bought my first turntable but couldn't afford a second one, so I had to mix with the Technics turntable using my tape deck! I knew from those very early days that I wanted to be a DJ for life.
When did you realise that it could be your career? I am not sure, actually. I did everything without looking further than a few weeks ahead, really. I was happy to be offered the chance to play and that's it.
I think it got more serious when I joined the Lola Ed agency.
Which DJs/producers influenced you? Ricardo Villalobos was a big influence at the beginning, as was Dan Ghenacia for the Parisian scene. I was going to every party where you could find the type of sound those guys were playing and then spending all my days in record shops trying to find the tunes they played.
Have you had the chance to work with any of them? Dan and I became friends more than 10 years ago and had the chance to work together on several projects.
The first place you ever played in Ibiza was DC10? Talk about starting at the top ... It's all thanks to Dan, who was already a resident of the infamous Circoloco at DC10!
He introduced me to the Circoloco crew and it worked out for the best.
Without him, I definitely would not have started with DC10.
How did it feel stepping into the booth there for the first time? Stressful! Even if you dreamed about it a thousand times, when you arrive in the booth, you're intimidated and excited. You just have to focus on the music.
You have played a lot lately in the States - ever tempted to move over to LA or Miami? Tempted for sure, but I have so many things to do in Europe for now. I'm working on an album in my new studio so that's where my focus lies right now. But who knows, in the future? I'm open to possibilities How would you describe your sound? Hard to describe, really, but at a push I'd say definitely traditional house stylings, with a lot of groove. A little bit hypnotic with a contemporary edge.
You launched your own record label a few years ago. What made you decide to do that? I wanted to be able to release my music when I want, as soon as I make it: freshly made, freshly served!
Unfortunately, other labels already have their schedules planned out and some of the labels I dealt with over the years suggested releasing my music a year after it had been made! That was too long for me to wait, so I decided to create my own platform and get it out there.
Have you played in Liverpool before? No, so that makes it more exciting for me. It's going to be a totally new experience.
What can people expect from your set? People can expect to be locked in the groove!
Any projects or releases we should be looking out for from you this year? I'll be releasing an Ideal Juice compilation at the end of March. It's a 10-track compilation of shorter edits of my own original tracks released on vinyl on my label since 2011.
It'll be out on CD and digital.
And expect a solo album at the end of the year.
| Djebali plays Statk meets Ideal Juice, at 24, Kitchen Street, on Friday, February 19, joined by DJs REda daRE, Michael Dowding and Phil Fearon.
| 'It's not about forgetting what happened but more carrying on with living and showing that we are not gonna stop doing what we love to do.' - Djebali on Paris' reaction to last year's terror attacks